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GamesMaster began when Jane Hewland, formerly of LWT, who had set up her own production company Hewland International, took an interest in her son's love of video games. She put together a pitch for a show that would translate the excitement of games playing into watchable television. It was Channel 4 that became interested in the concept and green lit the production. However, because it had been pitched as a competitive event programme, the show was always under the jurisdiction of the "sports" department amongst shows such as Football Italia, horse racing and Kabaddi.
Although it featured game reviews, most of the show was about challenges where game players would compete against one another for the title of "GamesMaster Champion". Contestants who were successful at their challenges were rewarded with the coveted "GamesMaster Golden Joystick" trophy. Dominik Diamond usually presented the show with Sir Patrick Moore appearing in pre-recorded inserts as the 'Games Master'. During these challenges, Dominik was joined by a host of commentators. These included Derrick Lynch, Kirk Ewing, Julian Rignall, Rik Henderson, Dave Perry, Tim Boone and Edward Laurence amongst others. For the third series, Dexter Fletcher became the main presenter; this change was criticised by fans, who saw the new host as over-the-top, and too 'in-your-face'. To balance this, the production company dropped all other co-presenters and gave UK games champion Dave Perry a regular co-presenter slot on every show. Fletcher was better known at the time for playing an American character called "Spike" in the ITV drama series Press Gang.
From the very first episode, GamesMaster included reviews of forthcoming titles. In an attempt to give the show some authority and get the gaming press on their side, as well as eliminate the need for extra staff to review games, the reviews featured a host of magazines journalists from the publishing house EMAP. This meant the show could pool the collective opinions of magazines like Mean Machines, C&VG and ACE.